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Green Bay police looking into crime reduction technology to battle gun violence

Chief of Police Chris Davis says the technology could include gunshot detection, license plate readers, surveillance cameras, or some combination of those
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Posted at 12:00 AM, Aug 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-02 01:16:30-04

GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) — The Green Bay Police Department is looking into technology to help battle ongoing gun violence in the city.

Chief of Police Chris Davis says it's the biggest type of violent crime right now.

A little more than 100,000 people live in Green Bay. It's a medium-sized city with a large problem in gun crimes.

"We're still seeing it at that level that I don't think is acceptable to our community," Davis said.

A report by the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform shows there were 129 shots fired incidents from 2019-2021.

Davis says gun crime is consistent to the city's size.

Add on top of the fact that Green Bay is struggling to hire police officers.

"What we're looking for is things that will enable us to make the most efficient use of the resources we have so that we bring that problem down," Davis said.

Davis is talking about crime reduction technology. He says it could include gunshot detection, surveillance cameras, license plate readers, or even a combination of those.

A city document shows the department is requesting $655,000 of city American Rescue Plan Act money for a gunshot detection system.

Davis says shot detectors give precise locations where gunshots are fired.

Davis' request has been approved for a request for proposal, and the city has not committed those dollars.

"We want to make sure that whatever we do, because of the expense involved, is the right one for our community," Davis said.

But just because the police department wants the technology doesn't mean that city alders are on board.

"I've had a lot of people send me negative information on it, but I've also heard that some communities have had very good luck with it," alderperson Bill Galvin said.

Galvin says it would cost the city nearly $100,000 a year to operate a shot detector system.

He says he would like to see technology that's affordable and makes sense.

"What if you have something that not only works against the shots fired, but also solve other crimes?," Galvin said. "You know, a lot of times if you sweat the small stuff, you get the big stuff."

There are 28 license plate readers installed throughout the city as part of a two-month trial.

Davis says those cameras are working.

"There was a shooting not long after we switched that on, that we were able to solve within a matter of hours," Davis said.

And Galvin says he's all for a safe community, but wants the money to be spent wisely.

"I can't just jump on the bandwagon every time something new comes along," Galvin said. "It would be nice. But we don't have that kind of money, and we don't have that kind of resources."